Introduction: Have you had someone disrespect you? Have you
disrespected others? Many years ago, I was trying to mediate a very
difficult problem that arose between church members. At one point a
church member called me a profane name. I knew he did not mean it
because he was upset. A few weeks later, the member came to me and
apologized. I didn’t know what he was talking about at first because
I had put it out of my mind. On the other hand, I can still recall a
few incidents when someone intended to insult me. Why am I asking you
about respect in a study on righteousness by faith? It is to help
open your mind to the idea that righteousness by faith not only gives
us the key to eternal life, it should radically change our attitude
toward others. Let’s learn more about this by diving into our study
of Romans!

  1. Problems to Avoid

    1. Read Romans 3:1-2. Two weeks ago we learned that the
      Gentiles did not have to be circumcised. Even if it is not
      required, is there value in it? (Yes. Paul speaks
      specifically to the advantage of being a Jew. He says that
      they are entrusted with God’s words.)

      1. How far does this idea go? All of what Moses wrote
        came from God. Is it “an advantage” to follow other
        aspects of the Levitical law?

    2. Read Romans 3:3-4. What if those entrusted with the words
      of God are not faithful? Have you heard someone blame God
      for troubles in life? (Paul says that God is faithful. If
      we think that there is a breakdown in the promises of God,
      the failure lies somewhere other than with God.)

      1. Do those who were once blessed still enjoy an
        advantage? Are they still a source of authority? (The
        fact that those who have been blessed by God falter
        in their faith does not nullify God’s faithfulness.
        We must take our direction from God, not humans.)

    3. Read Romans 3:5-8. Can we bring glory to God by being

      1. What argument is this group making that Paul rejects?
        (This group says if the goal is to bring glory to
        God, then my bad behavior highlights God’s goodness.)

      2. What does this suggest about those who teach that
        righteousness by faith means we should disregard the
        law? (God is still concerned about our actions.)

    4. Did you notice the two arguments that Paul has just
      rejected? I think they are important to understand before
      we jump into Paul’s statements about righteousness by
      faith. How would you put the correct conclusions into your
      own words? (1. God is always faithful. Whether we are
      trying to explain why something bad has happened, or
      whether we are trying to figure out who is a good
      spiritual leader, we need to place our trust first in
      Jesus. Second, the way to bring glory to God is by obeying
      Him, not by showing what it means to live an unrighteous

    5. Read Romans 3:9. What if you avoid these two false
      positions, what if you understand and follow the truth,
      are you any better than those who misunderstand? (No! You
      may have this right, but you are still a sinner for other

  2. The Law

    1. Let’s skip down and read Romans 3:19. What is the purpose
      of the law? (To make us shut our mouths! Recall last
      week’s study was a strong warning about being judgmental?)

      1. Notice the strange language here. Paul says that the
        law speaks to “those who are under the law.” Does
        that suggest that some are not “under the law?”

      2. If you just answered, “yes,” how do you explain that
        Paul next writes “so that every mouth” is silenced
        and “the whole world held accountable?” If the law
        only applies to some, why would all mouths be
        silenced and everyone held accountable? (Paul must
        mean that the default position for everyone is that
        we are under the law.)

    2. Read Romans 3:20. Is the law the answer to our sins? (No.
      “No one” will be declared righteous by “observing the
      law.” Rather, the law lets us know what God wants us to

    3. If I stopped right here and asked, “Consider what we have
      discussed so far. Would you say that the law is still
      relevant?” What would you answer? (The answer would have
      to be “Yes.” The law shows us how to give glory to God.
      The law shows us the best way to live.)

  3. Righteousness by Faith

    1. Read Romans 3:21. Is there a way for us to be righteous
      apart from keeping the law? (Yes.)

      1. How do we know this is true? Do we just have to take
        Paul’s word for it? (Paul writes that “the Law and
        the Prophets testify” to this method of attaining
        righteousness part from keeping the law.)

        1. What do you think that means? (The prophets
          spoke of the coming of a Messiah. The sanctuary
          service symbolized Jesus’ coming sacrifice. Our
          inability to keep the law shows us that we need
          a better way.)

    2. Read Romans 3:22-24. What is this new way to be righteous
      that is “apart” from keeping the law? (“Faith in Jesus

      1. Who can take advantage of this offer? (“All who

      2. Does God try to limit those who can take advantage of
        this offer? (No. We are “justified freely.”)

      3. Must everyone take advantage of this offer if they
        desire eternal life? (“All have sinned.” The comment
        about there being “no difference” tells us that no
        matter how good we may think we are, the presence of
        sin in our life means that we will still die unless
        we accept Jesus’ offer.)

      4. What does this suggest about disrespecting others?
        What does this suggest about an attitude of
        superiority based on our obedience?

    3. Read Romans 3:25-26. The phrase “faith in His blood” seems
      odd. What does this mean? (This brings to mind the
      sanctuary service where an animal was sacrificed to atone
      for the sins of the person bringing the animal. It was the
      blood that removed the sin. See Hebrews 9:22 and Ezekiel
      43:20. This tells us that the sacrifice in the sanctuary
      service was an example to let God’s people know that Jesus
      was coming to take away their sins.)

      1. These verses say that this “demonstrates” God’s
        justice. How do you explain that this is justice?
        (Read Genesis 2:16-17. I believe that the entry of
        sin automatically brings death. It is a natural law
        and God warned Adam about it. When Jesus died for our
        sins, so that we would have the opportunity to enter
        a sin-free world once again, it showed us that God’s
        justice is unlike anything we have ever seen before.)

    4. Read Romans 3:27. Do you think that you are a pretty good
      person? Do most of the people you know have lower
      standards than yours? What does Paul say about an attitude
      like this? (“It is excluded.” We have nothing to boast
      about since righteousness by faith is a free gift.)

    5. Read Romans 3:28. What role does the law play in our
      salvation? (None. The only people who are justified, are
      those who do so on the basis of faith in Jesus’ sacrifice
      on their behalf. The law has nothing to do with it.)

    6. Friend, does your attitude towards others fully reflect
      the truth of righteousness by faith? We are all sinners.
      All of us have only one way to be saved eternally, and it
      has nothing to do with our own works. Praise God for what
      He has done for us!

  4. Next week: The Faith of Abraham.